"Armenia hampers early onset of peace in South Caucasus"
Foreign experts' opinions on Caliber.Az
INTERVIEWS 13 March 2023 - 10:05
The Armenian Prime Minister put up a new political show: at the government meeting, he bluntly accused Azerbaijan of new "terrorist attacks" and "provocations". Azerbaijan, he said, is staging them to "frustrate further negotiations with representatives of Karabakh and prepare the ground for a new military provocation".
Insinuations about Baku's aggressiveness and perfidy are coming out of Pashinyan's mouth one after another. At the same time, he does not seem to want to explain what Armenian militants, armed to the teeth, are doing on Azerbaijani territory. What kind of weaponry do they use to attack our troops? He is persistently pursuing Yerevan's tried and tested method of blocking the peace talks under any pretext, launching more and more armed and political provocations. So, everything is as usual, as it has been for the last two and a half years.
Pashinyan is trying hard to persuade the world community and his foreign patrons that "by the terrorist act of March 5 Azerbaijan pursued several goals". First, he stresses that Baku seeks to disrupt "the talks with the representatives of Karabakh". The next goal, he says, is to create false evidence that arms and ammunition are being transported from the Republic of Armenia to Karabakh. This topic, he points out, is now crucial for Azerbaijan, but he cleverly avoids the unpleasant question of why and for what purpose tons of weapons and ammunition are delivered to the Karabakh separatists from Armenia. Does he think that this will help to establish a peaceful dialogue in the region?
Alas, all the tricks of Yerevan have long been known both in Baku and abroad and do not mislead politicians and political analysts at all. According to the Ukrainian military expert and the press officer of the first brigade of special forces of the AFU Taras Berezovets, it is obvious that after the loss of Moscow's support in the negotiations with Azerbaijan, the Armenian Prime Minister found himself in a stalemate situation. In a conversation with Caliber.Az, Berezovets stressed that against this background, Pashinyan's spirits had brightened sharply after the UN International Court of Justice ruled to "unblock the Lachin road".
"Elated with success, he appears to be trying to increase pressure on Azerbaijan's positions. Realizing that Russia's support has been lost, but there is a chance for the support of EU countries, first of all, France, on which the Armenian prime minister counts a lot," the Ukrainian military expert said.
Berezovets is sure that the situation is difficult for Pashinyan. And he cannot come out of it defeated, otherwise he will be destroyed by the domestic opposition.
"He now needs to maintain the discourse that he, Pashinyan, is a super-successful diplomat and negotiator. In fact, he is trying to convey this with all his rhetoric: yes, I am not the most successful economist, but as a negotiator, I have already achieved solutions beneficial for Armenia. It is like a TV series: publicity and drawing of maximum attention allows him to be on a roll," the Ukrainian expert believes.
That is why, according to Berezovets, Pashinyan needs to drag out the dialogue on all issues because he is trying to win support from outside before the next round of talks. Our interlocutor believes that he will manage to do so for some time because the attention of the world centres of power is currently shifted to the confrontation between Ukraine and Russia, as well as the USA and China.
"The position on this political fringe may allow Pashinyan to play this kind of game for some time yet. Speaking about the prospects of negotiations, I must say that they are possible, in my view, with the participation of external mediators who will be trusted by both sides. In this case, it is not France, which is rejected by the Azerbaijani leadership, and not the USA, which rather shows a semblance of involvement, not intending to get particularly engaged in the situation. The only option is Russia. But Moscow is playing for its own domestic interest rather than for the interests of Azerbaijan and Armenia, so it is not the best negotiator either. I see the expediency to try to involve Türkiye in this process, the relations with which Yerevan has recently begun to improve," Berezovets concluded.
Saken Mukan, a Kazakhstani political scientist and professor at the Department of Media Communication and History of Kazakhstan at MUIT, Almaty, expressed an even harsher opinion on the actions of Yerevan. The way in which the current Armenian leadership interprets the March 5 incident in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan generally causes fears that further peace talks between Baku and Yerevan are deadlocked, he said.
Revanchist sentiments in Armenian circles, Mukan points out, have long been on the world's radar, and the presence of weapons on the Armenian side while driving into Karabakh does not fit in any way with the points of the Trilateral Statement of 2020.
"Clearly, in my opinion, the Azerbaijani side suspected that there were weapons in the vehicle, and therefore the Azerbaijani military tried to carry out a search. Unfortunately, it had a sad end," the political analyst said.
Talking about an act of terrorism carried out by the Azerbaijani side, as stated by Pashinyan, is not a convincing argument, as "in a hotspot with a sensitive past, no reasonable state has ever abolished the right to self-defense," the Kazakhstani expert believes. Moreover, he believes that the mere presence of weapons in the transported cargoes demonstrates clear revanchist intentions on the part of Armenia, which a priori undermines the process of peaceful dialogue.
"As many analysts have already pointed out, the Azerbaijanis have only just begun to build a normal dialogue with the Karabakh Armenians, immediately followed by provocations in Karabakh - a common pattern and correlation of events is evident. In analysing this cyclical pattern of events, peace will obviously not come to the South Caucasus for long. In his speech on March 9 at the 10th Global Baku Forum on "Peace Today: Challenges and Hopes" organised by the Nizami Ganjavi International Centre, President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan stated directly that 'Armenia has lost its chance to become an independent country', thus emphasising the main issue on the agenda," professor Mukan believes.
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